O. Song

Unreal Engine 5 and Apple Silicon Mac M1

So, Unreal Engine 5 just dropped, and since I have the Mac M1 Mini, the Apple Silicon little machine, I wanted to see for myself if it performs well, if at all.

Does Nanite work on Apple Silicon Mac M1?

As far as I can tell, I don’t think it does (edit: confirmed, it does NOT work as of Summer 2021). I am guessing that Nanite has to have Mesh Shading enabled to make it perform. This is a feature that was introduced in 2018 and is slowly making its way into the realtime rendering pipelines just now.

It is possible that it will be enabled in further iterations of Apple Silicon, like M1X or M2 macs. For now – tough luck.

Does Lumen work on Apple Silicon Mac M1?

That is another NO, sadly. Enabling Lumen in the viewport does nothing apart from introducing a yellow~ish tint in the default 3rd person preset scene.

Also Lumen-enabled check discards Screen Space Reflections. To make those work again, I disabled lumen and re-enabled SSR via the toggle, making it work just like it does in UE4. So at least that works, so no need to panic. SSR is still here and all is well.

How stable is Unreal Engine on Mac M1?

UE 4.26.2 runs somewhat fine, but since it has not been re-compiled on Epic’s side into being more stable for Rosetta 2 translation, some things refuse to work. The one thing that crashes all the time is the Advanced Niagara scenes from content examples provided by Epic dev team. Yet, there is a surprise after all. Running this exact scene in UE5 makes it work just fine on Mac M1. Pretty amazing. Here’s a video of me showcasing where the UE4.26 crashes on Apple Silicon, and how UE5 opens same scene just fine:

Will Unreal Engine 4.27 improve Mac M1 stability?

Short answer – it definitely should help. As shown on the UE4.27 roadmap page, Unreal Engine 4 is definitely getting a stability upgrade this summer. Sure, it will still work as a Rosetta2 translated x86_64, but an official support for the platform is very welcome news.

Update: as of 4.27.0 Preview 1 same instability issues as in 4.26 persist.

It will also be interesting to see what WWDC 2021 will have in store for us, but it is at least a week away. Also, knowing Apple, I have zero expectations for making the life easier for game development, so do not have high hopes.

As things develop in the area of Apple Silicon compatibility with Unreal Engine, I will be recording new videos on the topic, at the very minimum testing the upcoming 4.27 builds and trying to open up that exact problematic scene, so if you don’t want to miss that – subscribe to my YouTube channel.